In Atlanta, Georgia, It's All About Good Music and Good Vibes

beyonce in concert
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When Mercedes-Benz asks if you’d like to fly down to Atlanta, Georgia, for the Beyoncé Renaissance World Tour, you say yes. It doesn’t matter what else you have going on that weekend. You cancel your plans and you get on the plane. It’s Beyoncé! In Atlanta!

Atlanta's music roots run deep, and the history of the storied city is way too rich and complex to do it justice in this piece. Suffice it to say I knew that a Beyoncé concert in what is often said to be the center of the hip-hop universe would be unlike any other. (And it did not disappoint: Queen Bey herself ended up saying that Atlanta was her best crowd to date.)

If you find yourself in Atlanta without a Beyoncé concert to attend, don't worry, there are still plenty of cool things to do and yummy stuff to eat, which I've rounded up for you here.

But first, a quick tip: Atlanta is not a walkable city, and there are tons of neighborhoods to explore, so you’ll need access to a car. Mercedes-Benz hooked me up with an electric vehicle (the EQE 350+ SUV, to be exact) for the weekend, and my god, it was a d-r-e-a-m to drive—and I say that as someone who knows approximately zero about cars. Such a smooth ride. And it goes fast, too. We love a low-carbon-emission vehicle!

(Full disclosure: I received comped travel and accommodations during this trip.)


REVERB by Hard Rock: My friend and I stayed at the swanky REVERB by Hard Rock, which was conveniently located directly across the street from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta. When we showed up on Friday night, the lobby was packed with Beyoncé fans in their alien superstar finest grooving to a live band that was playing the best of Bey from over the years.

The party lasted all weekend (and extended up to the hotel's RT60 Rooftop Bar, with its near-panoramic views of the Atlanta skyline) but much to my old-person delight, the rooms themselves were completely soundproof. The close proximity to the stadium also meant we could stay to the bitter end of the concert and then spend literally all of five minutes walking home to get a good night's sleep. Yes, it was perfection. And yes, I'm aging like a fine wine over here.

Beyond the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, REVERB is also close to a bunch of other Atlanta hotspots—like the World of Coca-Cola and Georgia Aquarium—so it's a great place to post up whether your plans include a concert or not.



Stroll along the Atlanta BeltLine: The result of an impressive urban revitalization effort that transformed 22 miles worth of unused railroad tracks, the BeltLine is a walkable/bike-able/runnable/roller skate-able pedestrian path similar-ish to the High Line in New York City. You could easily spend a whole day on it, traveling from Inman Park to Piedmont Heights and stopping for a cold drink or an ice cream cone every few miles.

Lounge around at Piedmont Park: This gorgeous plot of land (200+ acres, in fact) in the middle of the city—with plenty of footpaths and wide open green spaces—would be a good spot for a picnic, or a game of frisbee. If you're traveling with a pup, there are also several shaded areas where dogs can run off-leash. I would also make time for a pit stop at the Botanical Garden (the team there will recommend the ideal path for you, whether you're traveling solo or looking for romantic scenery—sweet!).

Satisfy your hunger at Ponce City Market: Built in an old Sears warehouse, Ponce City Market could ~eat up~ an entire day. Start your morning with toast and coffee from Spiller Park, then poke your head into any of the shops (there are well-known brands like lululemon and West Elm as well as local merchants like JJ's Flower Shop where you can build your own bouquet) to work up an appetite for lunch at Hop's Chicken. After you've digested all that fried goodness, grab a boozy lick at King of Pops and then head upstairs to The Roof, where you'll encounter an amusement park (!?) with games, mini golf, views, and more. There's also access to the BeltLine from Ponce City Market, jsyk.

Bring your sweet tooth to Krog Street Market: Steps off the BeltLine in Inman Park, you'll find Krog Street Market, another food hall in a restored factory building. Ice cream from Butter & Cream is the thing to get here (nearly everyone I saw had a cone in hand) and I got lost in a chic little kitchenware store called The Merchant, where I bought a candle in a tinned fish can!

Prepare to be entertained at Mercedes-Benz Stadium: If there's a concert or a game happening at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium when you're in town, get tickets. You're probably thinking "Um, it's just a massive stadium, why?" The thing is...not only is it the first professional sports venue in North America to get LEED certified (which is basically like the Academy Awards for green buildings), but it's also earned big-deal recognition for its zero-waste efforts thanks to its commitment to composting and recycling. There's also an impressive collection of over 100 pieces of art on display throughout the stadium. So yeah, lots for non-sports fans, is what I'm saying.


Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall: Inspired by the beauty of national parks, this restaurant in Atlanta's historic Old Fourth Ward is a must-visit, and it’s right off the BeltLine. Outside, you’ll find picnic tables (with plenty of shade, don’t worry) and inside you can get cozy in front of the fireplace in the winter. It’s a really fun scene, with good music, great energy, and even better interior design. Their Capri Sun-like cocktails are the move (they pack a punch, so pace yourself) and food is ordered cafeteria-style. If there’s fried okra on the menu when you visit, get it.

Ranger Station: This super-secret speakeasy bar is the newest addition to the Ladybird family. And I mean secret secret—I had to ask for permission to even include it in this article. There is no signage or indication that the cocktail bar exists anywhere on the property, so you have to ask how to find it, and I was told that unless you specifically say “hey, I’m looking for Ranger Station,” the team might play dumb. (They’re really committed to the bit, it’s cute.) Once inside, you’ll find yourself in a dark room full of comfy leather couches, mood lighting, and memorabilia you might find at a Canadian park ranger cabin. The cocktails are exceptional and creative as hell—get the Arc of Visibility, if you dare...

The Optimist: Turns out, Georgia does seafood right?! And I say this as a born-and-raised Rhode Island fish snob! Spacious and stylish, The Optimist, in Knight Park/Howell Station, seems like a great place to go on a first date—that is, as long as you don't mind butter dripping down your chin. (Let's call it what it is: an aphrodisiac.) Spanish octopus, spicy kale salad, and whole shrimp à la plancha are a must (the whole shrimp's "sopping toast" will be responsible for the aforementioned butter moment).

shrimp a la plancha
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Muchacho: Lovers of breakfast tacos and breakfast burritos shouldn't leave town without stopping at this hotspot. Honestly, for a weekend full of well-designed interiors, Muchacho might have taken the cake. Inside, things are groovy, plant-filled, and vaguely '70s-inspired. Outside, in the sunken garden, the vibes are sunny and casual. I will admit to chugging the "golden latte"—cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, and espresso—embarrassingly fast.

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